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Us 27, U.s. 15, Rodriquez 14, Iraq 10, Centcom 10, Pakistan 8, Shelby 8, Syria 8, Carter 7, Austin 7, Napolitano 6, United States 5, Feinstein 5, Iran 5, America 5, Charlene 5, Omb 4, Mexico 4, Benghazi 4, Africa 4,
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  CSPAN    Capitol Hill Hearings    News/Business.  

    February 15, 2013
    1:00 - 6:00am EST  

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matters of process and get beyond government ultimatums, government by crisis, government from lurching from one a traumatic event for 1 after the other, and returned to this appropriations committee, i will remind everyone, is one of over two congressional committees -- the revenue committee gathers revenue to operate the government of the united states. the other is to make wise and prudent expenditures in the interest of the united states. we are constitutionally mandated except finance and appropriations. we were created by congress to govern. we were created to help govern the nation. this is what brings us to our hearing today. we will focus on the impact of the sequester. i think it is a bad idea. it is bad policy.
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it is a bad economic policy. it is bad governing policy. i really do not like it. it is working with the leadership to be able to find a way to avoid the sequester in the hopes that a higher power find a way for the nine years that it is mandated. what we hope to accomplish today is to take a look at the impacts if the sequester happens for the american people. thank you for everyone coming. we thank you for speaking about defense. it has been well heard and well spoken. we look toward to hearing from you, secretary napolitano. in the u.s. military, military, those who wear the uniform, will be protected in the sequester, and they should. there are others that need to be protected. what is the impact of them? and also the future of the country, the ability to -- the middle class.
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this is where secretary donovan, we want to talk to about housing and the economy. what is it that we need to do? you hold the future of america in your hands. we went to innovate, but first we have to outeducate. we want to hear about the impacts of sequester for educational reform. i believe we will run to view with destiny. we must solve this problem. i do not think the american people quite understand the impacts were sequester mandates and $85 billion cut that is equally shared by defense and by domestics.
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you are a national security secretary napolitano. layoffs and services not delivered to the american people -- i have to cope with my members here on the issue of the fiscal cliff. also, the issues of implementing homeland security. we want to talk about the impact on these agencies. what about the fbi? what about the people who staff are federal prison? in the area of health and education, i understand for mental -- where will they go? a nursing home? we are cutting funding. we are here to listen to you. we know the impact that when defense sneezes, the economy
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could catch pneumonia. also, ship guard workers. we want to hear from you. enough about hearing from me. working with the leadership, i will fight to fight a balance solution of increased revenue and strategic cuts and look at the inventory spending. there needs to be a balance solution. the burden can not be done by cuts on these agencies alone. make sure the sequester does not happen this year and does not happen over the next nine years. i've been like to turn my vice chairman, senator shelby. then we will go to the panel after that. >> thank you, chairman mikulski. thank you for your kind words. today we will hear from our
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witnesses on the impacts of the sequester, which is appropriate and timely. the cuts are poised to take effect in 15 days. it should be noted that the sequester is something that congress and the president set in motion, knowing full well that this day would come. the sequester would bring spending cuts that are automatic and across the board for discretionary. the formula would determine how many cuts are made and stead of what is based on economic growth, say it, and prosperity. cuts will come without regard to a program's merit.
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some of the most severe cuts will hit defense programs. we must reduce spending, but it should be done in a deliberate way. the sequester was supposed to be a last resort in the so- called supercommittee failed to agree upon measures. in the end, maybe stan impasse. -- they reached an impasse. we have seen the sequester coming, but we have not taken any steps to fix it. congress has only delayed it further. this situation prevents -- present an opportunity. the president has called on congress to act, but he has not
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put forward a proposal the specific options. also when i hear the president some members say that the solution must include raising taxes further, i question their seriousness in fixing the overall problem. i've seen the lease analysis. we do not have a revenue problem, but a spending problem. revenue is on the path to increase and to return to levels that are in line with our historical average of 18-19% of gdp. in contrast, government spending remains high during the next 10 years and is expected to grow beyond its 40 year average. this will occur even with discretion all spending --
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discretional spending caps. cbo estimates that discretionary spending will fall like more than 3%. that is below the historical average. the real driver of our that is not discretional spending, but entitlement spending. cbo report this combination of an aging population, rising healthcare costs, and health insurance subsidies will drive up the costs of programs. this will be to a death spiral. the issue is compounded by the costs of servicing our debt. it will rise in 2012 to over $850 billion rejected in 2023. by then, interest will be 6% of our discretionary budget. this growing debt poses an increased risk of precipitating a fiscal crisis the likes of which we have never seen. the warning signs that we are moving forward, the fiscal meltdown has been in place for a long time. congress has repeatedly failed. it has been years since congress has even had a regular
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budget process with appropriations measures upon -- that were agreed upon. i believe the american public deserves a transparent and accountable budget process at the stores fiscal order. sequestration should not be part of the process. it is certainly no long-term solution to our spending problem. it should be a cautionary tale for congress. the sequester we face is the tip of the iceberg compared to austerity measures that will be necessary in the future if congress does not act soon for fiscal reform. i believe fiscal on we had to reform must include both tax reform and spending cuts. one without the other is only a partial solution. in the state of the union address, the president reiterated what appears to be -- and that number sounds --
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it only scratches the surface. i am concerned that the debate surrounding the sequester will become a diversion from the real problem facing us. the time for partial and temporary solutions is well past. what we need is a collective acknowledgment of the problem and they comprehensive, joint effort to reach a long-term resolution. anything short of that will place the american economy on an irreversible, downward path. we will hear about the past consequences of the impending cuts. i do not doubt that they will be painful to bear. i'm open to discussion. i believe it is important to emphasize that the sequester of whatever temporary solution we have made is just a precursor to the main event. thank you. >> thank you, senator shelby. we will go to the panel. we would have begin with omb and wrap up with national security. in the interest of time and efficacy, we will have one panel and be able to ask questions where we can get cross communication going. we will start with you and then secretary donovan and secretary napolitano. we will go to questions and alternating on both sides of the aisle. right off with senator shelby and myself. you are representing omb. their obligations with the presidential responsibility. go ahead and give us the details of omb. i will not introduce everyone. we will keep it going. >> thank you. members of the committee, good morning. i'm here to discuss the automatic spending reductions known as sequestration. it is scheduled to occur at march 1, as well as the impacts of these reductions and the actions the administration is taking to prepare to implement sequestration should it be necessary. i want to start by reiterating a point. as sequestration is bad policy.
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administration believes that congress should pass a balanced, bipartisan deficit reduction to avoid it. if allowed to occur, sequestration would have significant and disruptive consequences for domestic investment, national security, and poor government services. the cuts required a harm middle- class families, seniors, and the most vulnerable. the president believes these indiscriminate across-the-board cuts are not ours possible way to address our goals of balance deficit reduction. we have made significant progress in this regard. we have an active deficit reductions over the past two beers. the vast majority of this progress has come in the form of spending cuts. roughly three dollars in spending cuts for every one dollar in additional revenue. the president believes we need to have a balanced approach that includes a spending cuts, but also includes commonsense tax reform that can raise additional revenue. as part of the american -- act from tentacle, the date that the president would have to issue this a question should date was delayed from january 2 to march 1, 2013. with $24 billion in deficit reduction split evenly, this approach set an important precedent of avoiding sequestration and having a balance deficit reduction that combines additional revenue and spending cuts. should congress failed to act in the next two weeks, a sequestration of approximately $85 billion will be ordered for the remainder at the school year 2013. it will be split evenly between defense and nondefense programs. this will lead to a number of deeply troubling consequences and critical government programs we depend on. it would mean fewer teachers to educate the children. less funding for schools to help disadvantage kids with disabilities.
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less research into life reckoning diseases. it would cut nutrition assistance for vulnerable tabulations and reduce funding for center health programs. it would keep federal agencies from conducting expansions -- inspections necessary to keep our food and water safe and clean. it would make our home less secure. we need to keep crime out of our streets and neighborhoods. it would make us less safe or abroad -- safe or abroad. there is no amount of planning to avoid these damaging impacts. the federal government takes reasonable steps to avoid sequestration in the most responsible way possible. there'll agencies and omb have been engaged in ongoing activities for months to figure out how to operate under sequestration. our primary sponsor that he do execute our core areas on behalf of the american people. -- our primary sponsor abilities that we execute our core areas on behalf of the american people. let me reiterate -- no amount of planning or perforation on our part, no matter how thorough or careful, can mitigate the significant and harmful impact sequestration would have. it is not a responsible, long- term resolution. we need a balanced approach of spending reductions and revenues. it needs to build upon the significant reduction we have worked to achieve, strengthens the middle class, protects investments article, -- that are critical. thank you. i look over to your questions. >> members of the committee, thank you for this opportunity. great to see you again. with your support, we would be able to help states, districts, and communities that are providing benefits to those who are the most honorable. i appreciate this opportunity to testify about this topic. i hope that committee members will keep the most vulnerable students in the forefront of
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their minds. they are the ones who will be hurt most if congress chooses to let sequestration happen. i want to be clear that we have the opportunity at all levels of government to make spending for education more productive and efficient. distinct educational product to video requires smart and targeted changes to programs and not indiscriminate budget cuts. sequestration would force us to cut the crucial services and effect millions of lives of students. there is no probable plan b. here is who would get hurt -- the biggest cuts would take effect next school year that 2013-2014 school year. we need hiring decisions in the spring -- we make hiring decisions in the spring. the plan is to make do with less. meaning larger class sizes and fewer courses and less tutoring and higher unemployment. this undermines the very stability and predicted really every schools and works hard to achieve. it hurts families, children, and school staff. the vast majority of school districts will not be able to make up with these cuts at the local level. when they had to, they will hurt the most vulnerable students the worst. federal education resources generally are targeted to those children with the greatest need. title 1 grams serve almost 23 million students at high poverty schools. special education grants help about 6.5 million special-needs students. sequestration would cut title 1 by $725 million. it could affect 1.2 million disadvantage students. it would affect 10,000 teachers and support staff. special education, we could be forced to cut millions of dollars. it requires states and districts to cover the cost of approximately 72,000 teachers, aides, and other staffs. early childhood education, we would see cuts as well.
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some 70,000 students in head start could be kicked out. we're trying to do more not to the opposite. it is foolish and morally indefensible. higher education, the impact is destructive. we would have to cut back collection of student debt, it increased him into the treasury, and fell behind and servicing millions of student loans. we would also cut 70,000 students from grants and work- study programs that help them financial costs of college. clearly that is not the path we want to go down to regain our place as the nation that leads the world in college completion. those cuts do not take cut -- affect until then next will, others will hit right away. the affect schools and programs that draw direct funding from us, the government. who would be hurt -- families of military service members, disabled individuals, and people living on native american lands. the county schools in new mexico, which 7000 students living on indian land, sequestration would cut more than one third of that district's budget. these are young people we need to invest more in and not less. we have warned our own employees that there would be possible furloughs. that is across the board cuts that we would be forced to make. we believe -- education is not just another line item budget. education is fundamentally an investment. it is an investment in the future of our children, communities, and our country. high-quality education is the only way to build a strong and vibrant middle class and to foster upward economic and social mobility. an italian most americans do not meet the minimum qualifications to list in the military, it is also an investment in the national security. budgets are not just numbers. whether we choose to invest in children and education is a crystal clear statement about
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our values. children listen to what we say, but it is the action not the words that tell them whether we care. and the state of the union address, these are sudden, hard, and arbitrary cuts that would devastate priorities for education and medical research. it would slow down our recovery. it would cost hundreds of thousands of jobs. internationally, we are striving to get better faster. the one to help our children to compete in a global economy. or do we want our country to drift in the opposite direction? i would echo the president and ask you to take your time to develop a budget that would permanently replace the sequestration. i testified last summer. the president and everyone on his team remained ready to work with all of you on a long-term plan to cut the deficit while investing in future programs that will strengthen our economy and global leadership. >> chairwoman mikulski, vice chairman shelby, and members of the committee, i want to recognize senator murray and senator collins further great partnership together and with us in making difficult and important decisions for the country. thank you for the opportunity to testify today regarding impacts of sequestration on housing and urban development programs. should it go into effect, the cuts would be deeply that it would affect middle-class and the income in the vigils. it would cost at a time when it is helping to lead our economic recovery. more specifically sequestration would meet about 125,000 individuals, more than half of whom are disabled or elderly. they would have the risk of homelessness. sequestration would result in over 100,000 homeless and formerly homeless people. the majority of them are families, and disabled adults, or veterans being removed from their programs and putting them
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at the substantial risk of returning to the streets. cuts to the housing opportunities would result in 7000 receiving housing assistance and threaten the population of homeless america. that would result in more than 3000 of the most vulnerable children not being protected from lead poisoning or other hazards in their home. cuts to -- that would mean fewer housing protection or other counseling. this means fewer families making responsible and informed choices and greater risk throughout the housing market. sequestration would have a broader and damaging a pack -- affect. sequestration cuts $212 million from our programs, cain utes lose nearly half billion dollars of additional funding from private and other sources because they can no longer leverage those critical federal dollars. as to public housing budgets would mean more deferred maintenance and capital repairs on top of an existing capital backlog of over $25.6 billion nationwide. endangering the future of these departments and the neighborhoods. in 2012, they retained almost 22 thousand permanent jobs in more than 32.5 million people benefited from the community grant. sequestration would jeopardize that. across all of our programs, sequestration would result in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs at a time when continued recovery depends on a stable job market, especially in our hard, hit construction company. it has been central to the housing market, but our ability to perform critical activities to support recovery would be hammered by sequestration as a result of furloughs that would be required for agency staffs. the frustration would jeopardize ability processor loans when fha or present a substantial portion of home loan originations of homebuyers across across the country, as well as 24% of all
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multifamily construction. that would destabilize the market and slow economic recovery. sequestration threatens hurricane sandy recovery efforts. 5% cut amounts to $3 billion for the sandia supplemental that was passed by congress. from housing, transportation, and other areas. an example, the funding that would be cut would help make necessary repairs for more than 10,000 homes and businesses in the region. whether it is a man-made disaster of the natural disaster of hurricane sandy, hud has been central to recovery efforts. we know that broad-based economic growth requires a balance approach to deficit reduction is everyone doing their fair share. not an approach that harms the middle class or the poor and comes at the expense of our economy. sequestration is a lunch and indiscriminate instrument. -- is a blunt and indiscriminate instrument. we cannot risk our economic recovery. opposing the serious damage that the sequester would make. thank you for allowing me to testify. i'm eager to work with your committee in any way i can to help avoid sequestration. thank you. >> thank you. members of the committee, i appreciate the opportunity to discuss the impacts of sequestration on the department of homeland security. dhs day mission that touches almost every aspect of our economy. we secure the aviation sector and screens 2 million american travelers every day. we protect the borders and ports of entry while facilitating trade and travel. last year, our officers assessed more than three hundred 50 million people and facilitated nearly $2.3 trillion in trade. we enforce the immigration laws. we partner with the private sector to protect radical infrastructure. we work -- to protect our
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critical infrastructure. we support recovery. put simply, the budget cuts would be destructive to our nation's security and to our economy. it would negatively affect the mission readiness and capability of the men and women on the front lines. it would undermine the significant progress dhs is made over the past few years. perhaps most critically, it would have a serious consequence to the flow of trade and travel at our nation's port of in transit -- and ports of entry. average wait times to clear customs will increase by 50%. at our busiest airports like newark and jfk, lax, chicago o'hare, people wait times it can reach over two hours to grow to four hours or more. that would cause thousands of mr. passenger -- missed flight connections. it would increase domestic passenger wait time by more than one hour. at the southwest florida -- border, we would have to close these ports during core hours. at the seaports, delays were it cain or examinations -- delays for container contaminations would be increased to over five days. mid-size smaller ports would have less hours of operations. cruise terminals, processing time could increase up to six hours. it could cause passengers to miss flights are delayed trips and increase costs. trade and travel are essential to our economy. according to the u.s. travel association, one new american job is created for every 33 travelers arriving from overseas. according to the international trade administration, dhs -- could result in millions of dollars of economic loss. cpb would have to furlough all of its employees and eliminate hiring positions. decreasing the number work hours are equivalent to more than 5000 border patrol agent. the coast guard would have to reduce its presence in the
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arctic i nearly one third. surface operations by more than 25%, it would affect management of the waterways and fisheries and drug interdiction and migrant interdiction and port security. under sequestration, ice -- we would not be able to maintain 34,000 detention beds mandated by congress. it would reduce our investigative activities into things like human smuggling and commercial trade fraud. sequestration reductions would require us to scale that the development of critical capabilities for the defense of federal cybersecurity networks. the core structure would remain vulnerable. it would have impacts on our nation's disaster for. ms., response, and recovery efforts. -- the nation's disaster response and recovery efforts. we are still recovering from hurricane sandy and the tourney does in other major disasters across -- and tornadoes and other major disasters across the country. we would have layoffs of state and local emergency personnel across the country. threats of terrorism and the need to respond to and recover from natural disasters will not diminish because of budget cuts. even in this current fiscal climate, we do not have the luxury of making significant reductions to our capabilities without wasting the nation at risk. -- without placing the nation at risk. no amount of panic -- as we approach march, i urge congress to act to prevent sequestration and ensure the safety, security, and resiliency of the nation. >> dr. carter? >> thank you. is that on? ok. thank you. i thank you both and this entire committee for having the securing. i will tell you why. we have been very concerned about what we have called the devastating effect's of sequester on our nation's
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defense and everything we do. we have been talking about this for 16 months now. now the wolf is at the door. i would like to describe some of the specific consequences of sequester for national security. the big -- we have another contingency that is affecting us. it is a continuing resolution and prospect that it would enforce through the end of the year. it has near-term effects on the department. there are two things that come together. worst, sequester. it is scheduled to -- first, sequester. it is scheduled for march 1. as you all know they do it from a management standpoint, item by item.
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the new defense that energy that we crafted under president obama posey leadership only one year ago. it is not that we do not understand that the department of defense needs to make a contribution to the nation's capital situation resolution. that is why we have accommodated billions of dollars in cuts over the next 10 years.
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they are beginning to make that enormous transition. that was on top of several hundred billions of dollars of cuts that secretary gates began, eliminating unneeded and underperforming programs. all of this is on top of the historic reductions associated with the winding down of the wars in iraq and afghanistan. i also understand that the taxpayer deserves very careful use of each and every defense dollar that we do get from you. that is why we have striven and will continue to strive to get better buy-in power for defense dollar. -- buying power for defense dollar. but they use of the taxpayer dollar is undermined by the sequestration. sequestration is not the result of an emergency.
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it is not because discretionary cuts are the answer to the fiscal challenge. it is not a reaction to a more peaceful world. it is not due to a breakthrough in military technology or new strategic insight. it is not because of entitlement growth has been explored and exhausted. it is not because sequestration was ever land or intending to be implemented during -- ever planned or intended to be implemented. the consequences are very real and very personal. the president has indicated his intention to spare military compensation from sequestration. it is a decision that we intend to carry out, but make no mistake, the troops will feel this directly in other ways. i will give you the principal way.
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we will need to sharpen curtail training. that means a brigade combat team that has returned from afghanistan that is used to being in tip top ready, that is what matters to the profession and that is what we want to have matter to them, cannot train. the army reports that two thirds of its brigade on that teams will be at reduced readiness by year's end. i could go through the same thing with air force and so forth. it will have a big impact on uniformed people. likewise for our much-maligned civilians. a lot of people think that dod civilians wake up in the washington suburbs and drive on a freeway and come to an office building. most of the work in depots and fix airplanes and maintain ships and overhaul ships.
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86% of them do not even live in the washington area. 44% of them are veterans. on or around april 1, we will need to begin to furlough many of them. to do that for up to 22 days, which is the statutory limitation, i promised that when that happens, i will get back a fifth of my paycheck to the treasury for those last seven months. if we have to furlough people. i cannot be furloughed because i am a senate confirmed secretary, but there is a real impact. the civilian personnel, the effects would be devastating on
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the defense industry upon which we defend. the quality of our defense industry is second only to the quality of our people in uniform. that makes our military the greatest in the world. a technologically vibrant and financially successful defense industry is in the national interest. the active sequestration in the long-term budget cuts and the uncertainty will limit capital market confidence in our industry. companies might be unwilling to make return on investments in their defense portfolios. the term relates greater for subcontractors. many of them lack the capital structure to withstand this kind of turbulence. 60-70 cents of every dollar we contract goes not to the prime
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contractor, but to the subcontractors. many of them are small businesses. new people and new talent and new blood in the defense sector trad. there'll be a spike in inefficiency by stretching out rogue rams -- programs. the consequences are very direct and devastating. i would like to close with an appeal. that is to de-trigger sequestration and passed appropriations bill not only for defense, but are all federal agencies. i would like to add back in the long run, national security rest on a strong economy, strong industrial and engineering base , on having science, technology, engineering, and math talent
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here in america. these are provided in other parts of the budget, but indirectly we depend on them as well. understanding the fact of sequestration, i understand the comparable problems that are rising from my colleagues around the table. the cloud of uncertainty hanging around our affairs is having a and irreversible effects. the cloud of sequestration needs to be dispelled and not moved to the horizon. the magnificent men and women of the department of defense and their families deserve no less. they need to know that we will keep our commitments to them. their employees need to know we will have the resources to procure the world-class capabilities they provide. the world is watching us. >> secretary carter -- >> our friends and enemies are
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watching us, madam chairman -. they need to know that we have the political will to forestall sequestration. thank you. >> thank you. thank you for the compelling and riveting testimony for the consequences of this policy. we have had an extraordinary turnout among members. we have also have -- we also have to return by 1:00. we will follow the five minute rule. we would ask the panelists to give crisp answers so we can get in as much content as we can. we need to have -- there is a democratic caucus.
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i know the other party is pondering it. we will get on with it. we will recognize people in order of arrival. i look forward to these questions. secretary duncan, i will go right to you. i have heard secretary condoleezza rice, an iconic figure in american society, speak not only on national security, but she has said repeatedly that education is the civil rights issue of this generation. education reform began under president bush the elder, president bush w, and president obama. could you tell us the impact on our bipartisan, multiyear commitment to educational reform and get our kids ready for this.
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will this derail it? or throw it out the window? >> this would have devastating impacts. we know that we can do better. .t makes it untenable yar we are trying to level the playing field and help poor and disadvantaged children entered the middle class, the only way to do that is to give them high quality education. this is the civil rights question of our generation. to take any one of by itself is a big deal. putting them together, the impact -- one piece of this is title 1. that is to help poor children, the children with the greatest need. 1.2 million students would be impacted. if we fail to educate these children, what will they do? what is the option? children with disabilities have
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tremendous need. we have a long way to go. huge impact as well. that is not acceptable. >> thank you. we also understand that housing is one of the sectors that can lead us out of the recession. the economy is poised for recovery. secretary donovan, you are the housing guy. tell me what you think the impact is of kuester would be -- the sequester would be on housing. modernization, jobs, the supply chain from the lumberyard to big instruction projects. >> senator, you put your anger on it. -- finger on it. housing has become one of the leading factors that is driving
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our recovery. because of the critical role that congress created for fha, we are central to that recovery at this point. most half of first-time homebuyers today use an fha loan to buy their first home. let me take one example. one of the most important factors in our early recovery, particularly the construction industry, has been multifamily construction. it has -- we drive about 25% of all of that new multi family construction. even to take a small number of employees out of our -- by furlough or a lack of hiring, hiring freeze -- we believe this year alone there would be about $3 billion in financing for a particular kind of multi family construction that would not happen. there would be ripple effects of jobs.
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that is one small example. multiply that. >> is it a ripple effect and that lumberyard and the brickyard -- >> the brick layer or the plumber or the carpenter or the window manufacturer, it goes through the ripple effects in our system that would be halted by that. >> secretary carter, you outlined compellingly the sequester would be. i want to ask a question that is floating around here. let's minimize the impact for defense. there are those who would like to give you unlimited authority to revise the defense budget without any recourse in coming to congress to soften the blow. what is your position?
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what is the administration's position and giving you unlimited authority without any -- or do you need something more definite? >> that would take legislation. i hope there is legislation that is affecting defense. it would solve the problem once and for all. at this point in the fiscal year with the cuts of this magnitude, we have to go with the money is. we do not have a lot of choice. >> do you want unlimited authority without congressional approval? >> we would like some reprogramming authority. >> that is not -- a senator has a proposal.
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a bona fide one. we acknowledge it will be out there and debated. i want you -- i want there to be a real solution to the sequester. or if you have a proposal, go through cr or something. talking about're giving defense or all of you to decide how to do it at the expense of everyone else. >> at this point in the fiscal year, it does not help us that much. if the price is just kicking this can down the road, that is not a very attractive prospect for me. >> my time is up. senator shelby.
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after senator shelby, we go to harkins. >> thank you, madam chairman. i think it is obvious that we need to return to regular order in the appropriations process. do all of you agree that in order to provide certainty on that which we need for agency budgets, do all of you support a return to the regular budget appropriation measures? >> yeah. >> that is what i thought. in the likely event that the kuester happens, would all of you -- that the sequester happens, that we give you the
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flexibility to realign agency funding under new constraints assuming the sequester goes into effect? >> thank you, senator for that question. i'll get to the response to get it started. the administration would oppose a solution i the sequester in place and try to reconstruct it in such a way that would write to dallas some of the pain. -- try to dull some of the pain. i think the critical weight tear is that when that -- a critical point here is that when the sequester was put into place, there was not only agreement that it should drive a compromise and a solution to
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balance deficit reduction, i think everyone agrees that it would be enormously harmful. one of the ways it would be a harmful is that it would carry on the backs of certain populations this burden of deficit reduction, the middle class, the vulnerable. the notion that we can live within an 85 million -- $85 billion cut by moving things around is not change the fact that we live in a world where who is bearing the burden of the reduction would be the middle class, the vulnerable. it would not be possible to save all of them. we'll see harmful consequences. >> i think that is a great summary. the idea of flexibility sounds nice, but the choices here are devastating. the choice is -- do we save title 1 and take more money away from children with disabilities?
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do we cut more from homeless children? none of these are good choices. you have to invest. the idea that we can kick the can down the road leads to a situation where many people will get hurt. >> one other point i would add to that. i will echo something secretary carter said. we are late in the fiscal year. we are halfway in the fiscal year. we provide funding to local partners who figure out what the needs are of that veteran and help them locate a place to live. at this late in the year to say that we are going to cut substantially from the program needs that you literally do not have flexibility. you have to cut off existing funding for existing units in order to achieve these cut in
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such a short time. no amount of flexibility would allow us with this kind of deep cuts, but also precipitous cuts to be able to do this in a way that would mitigate the great damage. >> at this point, flexibility is really not flexible. there are only so many ways we can get that money. like my colleague said, it is a choice. we need serious -- never be serious cuts and all of the -- there would be serious cuts. >> you have laid it out already. when last question. question.s --on one last my time is running out here i.
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he said that nothing that he proposed " should increase our deficit by a single dime." at any of the president opposing the e require -- require -- would any of the president's recommendations -- >> thank you for the question. it is premature for me to talk specifically about the president's budget. it would capture a lot of the information that you are requesting. let me say this. the president's budget will build on the 2.5 billion dollars of deficit reduction that has been achieved to date. it would be on a framework over 10 years. when we issued our guidance to agencies to prepare their
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budgets, we submitted a budget to congress. there was clear direction that the discretionary caps that were put in place by the budget control act that a trillion dollars of the 2.5 trillion dollars i described, or in place. there are tough choices that need to be made. this is part of the president's overall framework. he is willing to make tough choices on domestic priorities. that is embedded in the budget control act. moving forward, this does not mean we cannot still make critical investments while also balancing our budget by doing smart things on tax reforms and other making and making of the responsible spending cuts. >> senator harkins. >> thank you, madam chair. first of all, i want to
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disagree with those who say we have a spending problem. everyone says we have a spending problem. there is an assumption that we as a nation are broke. we cannot afford these things any longer. we're too broke to invest in education and housing and things like that. look at it this way. we're the richest nation in history of the world. we're now the richest nation in the world. we have the highest per-capita income of any major nation. that kind of begs the question, doesn't it? if we are so rich where we saw broke? is it a spending problem? we have a misallocation of capital. a misallocation of wealth. all this wealth that has been built up by hard working americans has accumulated in fewer hands all the time.
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and then we have a tax code skewed toward the wealthy. the tax code that encourages companies to offshore jobs, offshore their businesses. a tax code that allows the wealthy had fund manager to payless rate of taxes that a nurse, for example. i think it is very interesting that all this talk we have about sequester talks about the programs that hit the hardest on the homeless. and the helpless, the disabled. and yes, also on the middle class. where are we not talking about a sequester is that when the curtain falls it also falls on all these tax loopholes? that those end and the same day on which rowling to cut back the spending. that allows us to educate our
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kids with disabilities. we're not talking about that. we're not talking about that. i take exception to those that say we have a spending problem. we have misallocation of capital. the misallocation in our tax code. in the 1990's, when we had full employment, when we had a balanced budget and a growing economy, our revenues equaled 20% of gdp. now it is down to 16%. of our gdp. so what does that vehicle? what it nichols's more burden on families with kids with disabilities. people are homeless. try to find a place to live, shelter for our veterans and the middle class people that work and jobs to protect our country. it falls on them, too, and the middle-class.
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so i am taking a lot of time to talk but we've got to start thinking about this in different terms. we can just focus all the time on cutting our obligations as a government. to build a more fair and just society. i still believe as hubert humphrey said that the moral test of government is how it treats those in the dawn of life, our children. how it treats those in the twilight of life, our elderly and how it treats those in the shadows of life. our homeless. our needy. our disabled. that is a test of government. i quite frankly do not think we're meeting that test right now. we're backing off of that. so cal me as one of those -- count me as one of those, back to our regular order. we cannot lose sight of the fact that this federal government
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that we represent has to be involved. has to be involved in making this a more fair and just society. i know that has been an overview and i have taken all my time on the common but as we move ahead and i hear voices saying no, we have to exempt defense from the discretionary cuts, if defense is exempted, then did the symbol of -- the disabled ought to be exempted and the homeless and the middle class families that work for you, they ought to be exempted also. so i tell you, this is -- we've got to get back to a better rational system. of revenues and spending in this country. back to our obligations so i have taken all my time. i want to make sure that i feel very strongly that it is not just appropriations that is
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causing this problem. it is the lack of the revenue that we should be taking in to meet our obligations as a country. thank you, madame chair. >> thank you very much, senator harkin. your longstanding reputation for passion and persistence in the area of social justice is well known and well appreciated. i would like to turn this to senator collins who is also the ranking member of the subcommittee and comes to us as a former ranking member on homeland security. we look forward to your questions. >> thank you very much, madam chairman. it is very difficult to follow the eloquence of my colleague from iowa. the fact is however, i believe we do have a spending problem and the $16.40 trillion debt is ample evidence of that. and i see that as one who supported the increasing taxes
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on our highest earners. the fact is, there is plenty of blame to go around for the crisis we find ourselves in but there can be no doubt that these indiscriminate cuts represent an utter failure to set priorities. and we simply cannot allow sequestration to go into effect. if we do so, we might as well just pack up and go home. having across-e the-board cuts, what is the point of our being here? so i hope we can work together to come up with alternatives. secretary carter, i want to follow-up on a point that you may because -- made because the ramifications of sequestration are extreme but in my judgment for the department of defense, a
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yearlong continuing resolution also would inflict tremendous damage on the department. for example, congress has authorized the navy to procure 10 destroyers during the next five years as part of last year's defense authorization act. the navy already has the bids for these ships in hand. the navy is ready to sign but the navy cannot sign these contract without an appropriations bill. here is the point. we risk throwing away a significant savings on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars, as well as jeopardize thing the stability of the shipbuilding that we have worked so long and hard to preserve. if we do not complete work on the fiscal year appropriations
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bill. -- fiscal year 39 corporations bill. do you feel it is essential and important that we not only deal with sequester but pass the defense appropriation bill for this year? >> it is. they are both of them separately but together very much so destructive. the problem with shipbuilding goes like this. earlier in the fact in the cr we had adequate dollars but separately to your point, we also need the authority to embark on real starts and the way shipbuilding is organized, every new ship is a new start so we're in the absurd position where we are five months into the fiscal year and we have the authority to build the ships
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were built last year and no authority to build the ships we plan to build this year. that is crazy and that has nothing to do with sequester. that is the cr which is a whole nother problem. we have both of them. >> we can just do sequestration and i know i have had the same conversation with secretary to paul itano. as well. -- secretary napolitano. i met legislators from maine who told me -- they could reduce funding for critical programs such as title 1, special education, grants, trio program, a rural education, what does the department of education intend to do to help schools that are hardest hit by sequestration if
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this goes into effect? for example, could shift the focus of some of your competitive grant programs such as race for the top to help build -- fill the gap in education spending? >> reece to the top, the money we spent represented less than 1% of spending on k-12, that was $4 billion. we spent $650 billion. little more than half a percent. to think we could shift to small number dollars to fill the hole here does not make sense. the numbers do not work. the damage here would be irreparable. that is why it is so important your leadership and others do the right thing here. i do not have a magic wand. i would be lying if i told you otherwise. >> and just a comment for secretary carter. he made such an important point
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about the federal civilian work force. i think too often it is white collar employees that are working inside the beltway. i know about the shipyard in cowdery, maine. these are welders, nuclear engineers, pipefitters for going to work at a pier. these are the firefighters to put out a very dangerous fire on a nuclear submarine. so i think we need to keep that in mind as well. thank you, madame chair. >> senator murray. the subcommittee chair [inaudible] >> thank you very much, madame chairwoman. i appreciate the opportunity to hear from a really great panel to help us understand the impact of sequestration should go into effect. it is important for all this to step back and remember sequestration was never written
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into the bill. to be implemented. if it had been it would have been more thoughtful. it was put into the bill simply to force us as members of congress to come together on a balanced, thoughtful approach on how we deal with our national budget. so we're here now two weeks away from implementing a policy that not only should not be implemented but was never written to be implemented. it cannot shirk our responsibility. to replace it with something that is fair. i urge our colleagues to think about how we can get that moving forward. over three dozen organizations in this country from [inaudible] organizations urging us to do just that. i submit that for the record. thank you for that. in your testimony pointed out
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the consequences of sequestration cuts to hud programs, 200,000 families at risk of losing housing. this cuts move past the implications talked-about. cuts to military and domestic spending will result in significant job losses across our country. so middle-class families will find themselves threatened because they have lost their jobs resulting in housing at a fragile time in our market and economy. could you talk about the job layoff? >> one of the things that is so important is as you know, as the chair our committee, for every dollar that we put into housing, where typically seen five or $10 of private capital -- we typically have seen $5 or
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$10 of private capital that come in. you multiplying the effect of the cuts across private invested -- investment that comes into private housing. whether it is the direct housing program for the community development block grant, for everyone of the tens of thousands of jobs you would lose through the direct spending we have in construction, the ripple effects into a factory workers, a real estate agents, lenders kamal those. what you see is five to 10 times the number of job cuts. you do not have private capital coming in. you build on that the loss of confidence. housing has been driving our economic recovery into one of the main things that has turned around in the past year. just to cut that off at a time you will see less consumer spending, families will not go to restaurants if the equity in their home is dropping, loss of confidence in neighborhoods. means that prices could
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potentially turn back around. the ripple effects are enormous because of how central housing is to our economy and our economic recovery. >> the implementation of the sequestration would have a direct impact on housing programs but on the job market. but the confidence factor at this time when we are fragile as well. it would have a huge long-term ripple effect as well. secretary duncan, education is a top priority and i know sequestration will have a huge impact as we have heard. i heard from yakima school district in my state. they have reduced the free lunch price rate. it was that a budget cut. after the state legislature has impact on their local district trade we have to pay districts that are close to military bases. can you tell me how you would see the general impact of these
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districts having to cope with sequestration? those districts are making decisions about firing teachers. talk about the impact we would see. >> we're not just coming into the situation in a vacuum. we have to look at the past couple of years. we were lucky enough to -- thanks to your support to save educator jobs but the nation lost 300,000 educator job so we have class sizes that are much higher than we would like. we have less children engaged in after-school programs and summer school programs. i am always fighting for more time, not less time. we're very -- in very tough economic times. for many educators this is the toughest financial situation they have been in in 20 or 30 or 40 years. to remove additional resources now would exacerbate a tough situation when we're trying to get better. south korea is investing more and that is where the
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competition is. every good superintendent is trying to do their budget planning now for next year and trying to hire staff to hire the best staff and figure out your after-school program and summer school program now for june and july. when you have a lack of stability we do not know what is going on, you have to plan for the worst. that is the prudent thing to do so you do not schedule this summer stuff. you raise your class sizes. to take away -- the least we can do is give people stability and predictability so it can manage. to take that away undermines the great work that people do level and that is why -- not by any of us came to washington was to her that. >> i appreciate that. i want to remind all this, increasing class sizes not just a phrase. i talked to a middle school who saidfter newtoown
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she has so many kids in her classes she has no ability to know those kids anymore. at a time when we're counting on educators to know their kids because of the impact of not knowing them, this is a real consequence to our country. >> you and some of the others have fought so hard to get children engaged in early childhood education. the best long term we can make -- investment we could make. i talked earlier in my testimony, 70,000 potentially less children, children kicked out of cancer. less children having access. how is that the right thing to do for the long haul? >> the group to be adults. thank you. -- they grew up to be adults. thank you. >> that is followed by senator
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tom udall. euronext followed by senator murkowski and followed by senator feinstein. and then i will announce the next group. if your staff is curious where you are, come talk to my staff. we are moving and this is a very content-rich hearing. >> madam chairman, it is a pleasure to be moving along with you in the chair -- and the chair. and all this adhering to the 5 minute rule. i am no exception to that. the point want to try to make is you have made a case -- i want to try to make is you have made a case for dealing with shrinking resources. i do not think this is the best way to deal with it. these are issues we should be dealing and working together through the process. separating the essential from the like to do but we cannot
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afford it right now to do from maybe we should not be doing that at all and would that not be better if we could transfer those funds into something more essential. every agency and others had -- the appropriations committee of the last two years, i have asked the same question. we have to deal with the reality that mandatory spending is running away with their budget. the discretionary portion of defense and nondefense discretionary is ever shrinking. not necessarily because that is the way it should be or the way it should be allocating -- allocated but the part of the pie that we have no control over in terms of growth is simply continuing to eat up more and more of our annual budget. it can pressure can only taxa much before impact's growth in the economy. that is not successful. we just went through a fiscal issue here with a fiscal cliff.
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i also supported that. the point i want to try to make is, should we not all be dealing with the reality of what we're facing? when world war ii ended, our soldiers came home. we recovered from a depression. and everybody started having babies. the so-called baby boom has been like a pig going through a python. first we needed nurseries' and diapers, enormous amounts and then elementary schools and junior high schools. this kobolds that occurred in that post-war -- bulge that occurred in that post fowar period. we have mandatory programs in place that provides needed health care needs and finances and retirement insecurity that none of us is trying to undo. but the reality is these that
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the facts we're dealing with. should we not be here as agency heads and others, working to try to find a way to address this ever-increasing mandatory spending so that we have funds available for defense and essential nondefense functions. because the sequester is a one- year fixed that we're trying to do now. should we not be doing the long term fix? are you pleading with the white house, are you pleading with us? are we working together to try to address what everybody should have been addressing if not years ago, a decade ago. we have all seen this coming. this modern merkel of medicine has increased life expectancy which used to be historically from the beginning of civilization not higher than 70. people are willing to be 80 and
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85 and 90 years old. we are blessed with this miracle of providing us opportunities to live longer. george will said once you reach 70 you are living on house money. when you look at the history of civilization in terms of how long people live. secondly we have known this baby boom crunch is coming for the last 35 years and i and all that time we have done one thing to address mandatory spending. the 1984 social security fix which bought us 35 or 40 years of solvency for social security. by raising the retirement age, by making some sensible reforms. we talk about this all the time but here we are pleading with doomsday scenarios about what is going to happen when we all know that regardless of where you come down are you for medical research, education, for better housing, or strengthening our national defense and making sure it stays strong. guarding the border, all the
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things that you are discussing here you have to get money from wherever shrinking piece of the pie. i guess my question is when are we going to step up and press our respective colleagues whether you're republican or democrat, liberal or conservative to address this problem. it is not a matter we spent too much or not enough. is the budget problem. that we have to deal with in the long term. i wanted to make that point. my time is expired. >> the president has put forward a plan that would create $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years. it is something that both members -- both parties have pointed to as an important benchmark to play a critical
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foundation for longer-term deficit reduction many years into the future. part of that $4 trillion plan are key components -- key components involved sensible reforms to a mandatory reforms and in thailand. there is in the president's proposal specific areas that start making those types of sensible reforms. they embody the spending cuts that were in the budget control act and there is tax reform as well. i wanted to make sure that i got down on the record that within the $4 trillion plan there are sensible entitlement reforms. >> there has been that in the president's plans, there has been several plants. we have not done it. i think the time is up and we need to do it.
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>> thank you. the five of you have made a compelling case of how devastating this sequester could be. let me just say to you what a great pleasure it is to participate in my first senate appropriations committee hearing. i wish it was under more pleasant circumstances. before i turn to our witnesses for some questions i would like to make two points. sequestration threatens damaging cuts for new mexico's national labs, military facilities, and border security. if implemented, this cuts would be very damaging i believe to our national security. sequestration will also be damaging to some of new mexico's most voluble. children in need of a quality education, a rural communities, struggling with housing, and homeless veterans seeking emergency shelter. my first question goes to you.
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new mexico's national security laboratory's work to support -- [inaudible] i believe the sequester's cuts facing the national security administration weapons account will hamper the important work across the country. needless to say there is a zero tolerance for mistakes. are you concerned that sequestration cuts pose unacceptable risk and is dod concerned about the impact? why don't you go first on that. >> i will start. as you mentioned, is nnsa does l
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within the category in the sequester. it faces an 8% cut which will be applied as in their stand it evenly across all labs and plants. you mentioned sandia. it is my understanding that critical milestones will be delayed for that lab. for less alamos we're looking at a $46 million cut to procurement. hiring freezes and furlough days for certain employees. there is significant concern across government. your question about nnsa, it is not safe from the impacts of sequester. >> we're the ones who depend upon them making a safe -- making a safe and reliable arsenal that we can put aboard our delivery systems. i am concerned about it. at a minimum it stretches out the stockpile life extension programs which is not good because it makes them more
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expensive and we do not have time in many of those cases. i am concerned about it, very much concerned about it. >> thank you for those answers. i'm going to do anything i can if we going to the sequester it that -- to make sure we protect the national laboratories that are real jewels. mr. carter, mexico's milk -- military installations, white sands missile range and part of fort bliss are unique to our security objectives due to new mexico's large, unencumbered airspace, unique geography, and intellectual capital. the sequester will impact long- term readiness as well as future defense research in favor of a breakfast plan to reduce the budget and you have talked about that. i you concerned with the impact of the sequester on these new
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mexico installations? what are the near in short-term consequences of reduced trading at air force bases and the reduction of research and development at white sands and the air force research lab and similar test ranges? >> in the near term, you will see in the final months of this year a sharp curtailment of range activity and other trading activities. we do not have any choice about that. we're simply going to run out of money in those minutes accounts. in the long run if the reductions in budgetary authority forecast which in our case is around $500 billion over 10 years, not all of these facilities can survive. we asked last year for the authority even to make the adjustments, the huge adjustment that we're making.
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$487 billion that we absorbed last year. -- the cuts extend over 10 years and you cannot keep the truth if you are not able to cut the tail. inevitably, some of these installations are going to have to be reduced. in the near term in the far turn it will have an effect on those installations. we do not have any choice. >> you mentioned in your testimony, and i am wrapping up. you mentioned in your testimony about small business being hurt by this. i think that could be a real impact in mexico and across the country. thank you. >> thank you. >> ranking member of the interior. >> looking forward to it with great enthusiasm.
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secretary carter, you mentioned that the wolf is at our door on this one. i am worried that the wolf is already inside. i'm worried that with or without sequestration, we are trying to acknowledge, we do not like sequestration. it is blunt and ugly and it does not work. it does force us to deal with budget cuts. it forces us to deal with the $16.40 trillion debt. if we're dealing with sequestration or whether we're dealing with budget cuts, it does force pressurization. if we're not working every day as lawmakers or you within the administration to make sure we're easing the pain of these cuts wherever they may fall within -- whether it is within defense or housing or education, we're not doing right by our constituents and by our country. i want to speak quickly to
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frustration. these are not making sense at a time when we're forced to prioritize, we're forced to be looking to spending reductions. this is what is going on in my state of alaska with the back door run on the air force base. we are essentially looking at our fiscal year cr level. we have this committee's direction to postpone for structure proposals until the commission report back in 2014. we have a first-year cost on this proposal, of $5.60 million. the fact that the same move was rejected in 2005 get the air force is moving forward with its
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plan. just last week they held four meetings in alaska despite the department ban on non-mission critical travel. i look at this and say we are supposed to be prioritizing and yet you have got the department moving forward with a plan that costs money rather than taking an enterprise-wide look at all our air force bases in determining where structure reduction should fall. you can probably since my frustration but when we're talking about priorities, it needs to make sense all the way. not just beyond march 1. can you comment on that? >> you are right. it does have to make sense. beyond march 1. and you are correct that we are paying and will pay a huge long- term price for the short-term
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disruptions that we're experiencing right now. i'm already doing things, we have to do things to curb spending. in that sense the wolf is in the door and that is another reason why short-term fixes do not help us out much. it may not give us the stability we need. to the point you have made, that is a legitimate issue that actually precedes and is somewhat independent of sequester. that is it was an issue we had last year before sequester. it is a matter of priorities. i understand that there was disagreement this year about a number of the adjustments that the air force made and that is why there is a commission on the future of the air force. we understand we are committed to working with the commission and the airforce understands
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that and we're not going to take actions that contravene the decisions made earlier this year. >> i would hope that we're looking long term to our critical military assets and do not make short-term decisions based on numbers that simply do not hold up. let me ask -- >> let me comment on that. make short-term decisions based on>> sequestration does fe decisions that do not make sense. >> let me ask you one of the most important federal responsibilities across our nation is the trust responsibilities for american indians, alaska natives, one of the programs that we're dealing with within the dhs is a trust responsibility to these native people and within the va and medicare, they're off the table
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in terms of their cuts. my question to you is given the critical nature of the health care services to our tribes, what actions is ihs taking to minimize the impact of the development on the indian community given the trust responsibility that is different from any of the responsibilities we have out there. i realize that i have gone over my time and i do apologize. >> you are pointing out that the impact of the sequester are beyond the bounds of the witnesses here. the impact of a broad range of activities and programs that serve to native americans are no different. as you mentioned, indian health services is subject to the sequestered. on the mandatory side is capped at 2% but not at the discretionary side.
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will we have asked each agency to do whether it is an agency serving need american populations are otherwise is to service -- figure out how to implement the sequester in a way that is going to best serve mission balancing all of theiotr priorities. there is no way to fully protect mission here. because the indiscriminate and abrupt cuts as they were designed are enormously disruptive. with respect to programs that are serving native americans, i will take your question back and we can work with those agencies to get you a fuller answer. what i can say is it is disruptive and we're asking agencies to do everything they can to minimize the disruption but that will not be possible if we go forward with a sequester. >> that is the point of what we're getting to which is no matter what, there is no good way out of this.
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there are no good choices. we're going to senator feinstein but before we do, a couple points. some members had to leave. i know that senator kirk had to leave and we wanted to give him an affectionate welcome back. senator leahy had to put his statement in and will extend this courtesies. just to give a sense of the lineup it will be feinstein, and begich and shaheen. right now it is feinstein and begich.d land rovreau and senator feinstein?
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>> i want to begin with something that you said. i think we're already feeling the effects of sequestration. i and imprecision and economic uncertainty. i find it really beginning to happen in california. california will lose the most jobs by far of any state. george mason university did a study and predicted that we would lose 225,000 jobs of which 135,000 are from your department. what is happening is with the knowledge that there is 10 years of this, people are beginning to make decisions out there, some cracked tractors, contractors to cut staff. and to be ready. i happen to 135,000, it believea major war is the worst thing that happened from this point. -- for this country.
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we should end it. i want to thank you. you're the most precise of everybody as to what we can expect. we spend energy and time trying to find out who will suffer the cuts. everyone is concerned that what is going to happen to them and we can give a straight answer. it is a bad phenomenon and it ought to end before it really catches hold of america and does a great deal of damage. let me ask you about one thing. this is for california. it happens to involve the only shipyard on the west coast. in san diego. 3500 jobs. we work very hard to achieve long we'd financing -- long-term
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financing for three ships. what exactly will happen to the long lead financing? >> i am -- not good things. i am concerned about it. first of all there is a continuing resolution problem. having the authority to proceed on the basis that we planned in shipbuilding. but the second is sequester and a reduction in budgetary caps over the long run and that will have a huge effect in our shipbuilding. nasco is especially vulnerable. i was there a few months ago and i am concerned about that. there is no question there will be a major restructuring. i think we will get through the continuing resolution thing. as a result of sequester and the
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cuts down the road, that is one part of our defense. >> willits lose long lead financing? >> it depends on whether the issue isng resolution faug resolved not. >> that is what i am talking about. people have to make decisions with respect to contracts and so they make them negatively. it is my distending a number of agencies, -- understanding and number of agencies fall under the defense budget. it is my and your standing that director clapper has asked he be
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involved in these decisions. have you worked out an agreement with him? >> he and i talk all the time. and i do with all our managers. our service chiefs and installations. there is a huge amount of detail. a huge number of management decisions that we're trying to make in the uncertainty that you mentioned and that is mirrored in our industry as well. i they going to assume the continuing resolution is lifted or not? i do not know. we do tend to make conservative decisions which if this goes away, we will regret because they will have introduced waste, italy, and if it -- and efficiency for a reason at all. -- waste and delay, and inefficiency for no reason at all. >> thank you. and thank you for the time. we keep talking about the fact
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that we can take some balanced approach between spending cuts and revenue. i will tell you i am confused by the idea that there appear to be no spending cuts that can be taken. we have $60 billion of new revenue this year that we would not have had last year. but we cannot find $85 billion worth of cuts. i will accept the idea that nobody told anybody that this sequester was going to happen, even though it was in the law. i had a chance to be in a hearing with secretary carter this week and i asked him what number did they submit for the omb budget planning for this year and he said they submitted an number based on a pre- sequester number, is that right, secretary? >> that is right. the 14 budget preparation is based on that. >> did you submit any alternative for what happens if you have to deal with the sequestered number? >> no.
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we have not done that. >> we're not prioritizing. this is taking us by surprise, we do not have time to cut. but we are apparently not making any plan to take a cut next year, either. what number did you submit, secretary napolitano? >> 14. i will have to double check. >> what was the guidance from omb on the 14 budget? >> it was 5% below the base of 2012 enacted. and just responding in real time to one of your earlier point, what is important to remember is the budget control act of 2011 had within it $1 trillion in discretionary spending cuts that are imposed through spending caps. those were embodied in the president's 2013 budget and that
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puts enormous budgetary pressure on our agencies and requires us to make tough choices. the challenge right now is $85 billion over seven months and the way it is done so indiscriminately across every program, project to and activity. that is the challenge is can plan for but you cannot avoid the harmful impact of. >> i accept that. the idea -- but the idea that we need to cut spending but it needs to be a balanced approach flies in the face that nobody has any idea at of how to reach this goal even if half of it is revenue. it seems to me we're not planning that very well either. i want to ask a couple of questions. secretary donovan, just to clarify for me on a reservation funding issue. he said our funding would be cut by one-third to a specific reservation. i assume that is a payment in lieu of taxes money and why would be one-third?
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were trying to find 5% doubled in the end of the year, i could see 10%. you could get back to me if you do not know why. you mention the specific education funding in a reservation that would be cut by one-third in the remainder of this year. >> i meant secretary duncan. >> this is aid that goes out to native american areas and goes out to areas where the military -- there are military families and bases. we would have to cut this money and we disproportionately fund those areas because there is a lack of property taxes. one-third of that district's budget -- >> the combination of the cuts
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and normal the district could take. the impact aid money that we give. >> this would happen now. not down the road. >> it would be one-third. another issue, i am asking in omb question. we told you we might ask about this. we got some correspondents here from usda. the committee that senator pryor and i will be working on on questions about on-site inspectors. if they do not show up in a meat processing facility, that facility can not open. there other kinds of food processing. fda can come by and that does not implement -- impact whether the plant can be open or not. if the usda inspector does not show up, the plant cannot open. is there any way to prioritize those kinds of individuals showing up so 100 other workers
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or 1000 others can sure of that day? >> i do not think there is, senator. the way the budget is structured for the food safety inspection service at usda, 88% of their total funding is spent on salaries and benefits for front- line personnel that are doing the inspections to refer to. it becomes a mass issue. they're going to get a certain amount of budget. -- it becomes a mathematics issue. there is no way in which to find other sources of funds because 88% of the budget are those people that need to be at those meat plants doing the inspection to keep them open. this is one of the tangible and clear and significant impacts of sequester. this decision within usda will not able to meet its core mission of sending the inspectors to these locations and therefore under appropriate laws and regulations, there will
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be stoppages of work within those areas. it is a very serious concern. >> one of the questions we will be asking is how you prioritize the core mission and a legal requirement to be at that perdue facility. we will be asking that. >> thank you so much for your leadership. i could not think of a better person to be in that chair to help us address the challenges that are ahead of us and i look forward to doing my part to work with you and the ranking member. one of my colleagues last week made an observation that i think is worth repeating today when he said offering of flexibility which is what some of my colleagues are offering to do with the sequestered, is like giving the passengers of the titanic and option after they hit the iceberg as to what level
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or deck they would like to relocate to. i think that is very apt. number two, i think our committee would be well devised to deal in reality. we have mentioned that word several times. the reality of the situation. why is it not some of my colleagues on the other side will acknowledge the reality that the revenue coming into the federal government are the lowest levels since president eisenhower was the president? what is it about that reality that the other side of the aisle will not embrace? is it that they do not believe the fact? do they disagree with that fact? do they have some other facts to put on the table because if they do, i will listen to that. i have not heard anyone question that.
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so that is a fact i would like to start with because it helps us to frame the debate, which is we cannot rearrange the passengers on the titanic and suggest we're doing anybody a favor. we have to bring more revenue and 600 million to my friend from missouri, $600 billion is not enough. we have a $4 trillion problem. we have our report cuts -- already put cuts to spending that some people think is too high. i will agree it is in some areas. we have already done $1.20 trillion. did the other side expect us to do $2.80 trillion more? what revenues are going to come? that is the solution that your -- we're looking for. the me ask a question to secretary -- let me ask a question to secretary napolitano.
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i have doubled the number of border agents from 9000 to 21,000. we have built 651 miles of fence which is one-third of the southern border which is 2,000 miles not counting the canadian border, the eastern border with all the ports and the western border. this is a land border. we have apprehended 1.2 million illegal people coming across the border from 1.2 and is down to 3.6 with added money at the request of members to do this and now these same members will not help us find additional money. please again tell us what is going to happen all along our southern border. you were the governor arizona, you should know if they sequester goes into affect. >> i am having a little bit of
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been out of body experience because yesterday i was before the senate judiciary committee on immigration reform and there was a lot of pressing about why we're not doing more at the border. the plain fact is the administration has put record amounts of services from the border. that needs to be sustained and built upon. i can tell you under sequester, our calculations are that we will hours -- we will lose in hours 5000 border patrol agents out of the 21,800 that we have boots on the ground. in terms of staffing at the ports of entry, we will be looking at reductions, furloughs of 12 to 14 days for every port officer working on a port. we're going to be looking at not being able to invest in the technology that is so important
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to make the most out of the boats on the ground we have at the border. so we're looking at longer wait times, less security between the ports of entry, and the third part is that i.c.e. which does interior enforcement will not be able to meet the number of detention beds. >> the next question you have to answer in writing. for louisiana this is important but also in new york, california, and many other places. international travel is a driver of our economy, bringing jobs to america. if we can put the right number of customs for customs and tsa and moving people through the lines, that is going to have a terrible impact on our ability to create jobs, good paying jobs for hospitality and international trade. i will leave the question there and ask you to answer it in writing. how states will be affected at
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that term. >> i can give you that with this -- precision. >> thank you. >> i will now turn to senator bozeman. questions are coming up about the 2014 appropriations. i want to say this about our committee. the have discussed with senator shelby. we want to do with sequestered. we want to deal with the issue of the cr versus the omnibus trade we do not want a government shutdown. we're working with our house counterparts on this. also when the president submits his budget i am asking my subcommittee chairs in my ranking members to move out swiftly and smartly to begin their hearings. this committee, the
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administration is late in submitting its budget. it will meet its time line of holding hearings and being ready for markup in late spring and this summer. we're in this committee going to make every effort to have a regular order and follow the traditions to do that. for all the 2014 we're going to have real hearings, we will have real debates, real discussion, and regular order. i want to thank senator shelby for the way we're working. senator bozeman. >> thank you. it is good to be here. i think i am correct in stating that the veterans administration will be examined. >> it is hard to hear you, sir. >> ok.
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>> that is better for you. >> that is how it is when you are the low man on the totem pole. >> or the shortest person in the room. >> we appreciate you being here. again, the house has acted a couple of times, they sent a couple of bills over. the senate and the president had not acted. with the time from we have got going forward it appears that at least for short time we will have to work through this. what i would like to do is ask about a couple of things. a lot of veterans families have contacted us. for the record, can you tell us that veterans' benefits will not be affected? >> those that are funded through the department of veterans affairs, they are exempt under the law but there are certain
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services that are funded out of other accounts and other agencies that would not be exempt and would be affected. >> va hospitals. things like that. >> all exempt under sequester.
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>> good morning everybody and welcome. this morning the ee considers the nominations of two very distinguished officers to two of the most active and challenging combatant commands. general lloyd austin united states army nominated to be commander u.s. central command and general david rodriguez u.s. army to be nominated to be commander of the u.s. africa command. these two combatant commands centcom and africom are the centers of gravity for our military's operations to counter the threat of terrorism. oath nominees have served our country with distinction and i want to thank each of you for your decades of military service and your willingness to serve once again.
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i understand that general austin 's wife charlene and general rodriguez' wife jen air with us this morning and i want to a knowledge them and thank them for their sacrifices, their support to our nominees throughout the years which is so essential to the success of our nominees and as is the committee's tradition are nominees are invited to introduce any family members or friends who may be with them this morning with their opening remarks. if confirmed general austin will assume command of centcom during it critical transition. not for military operations in afghanistan. in the coming months afghan forces will assume the lead responsibility for providing security throughout their country, the coalition forces stepping back through a support role. on tuesday, president obama announced during his state of the union address plans for drawing down half of the 66,000
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u.s. troops in afghanistan this year, a 34,000 troop reduction by february of 2014. the president continues to consider options for a significantly reduced u.s. military presence in afghanistan after the end of 2014, which will depend on many things but in part on negotiations with the government of afghanistan over legal protections for our troops. the president has made clear that then missions of residual u.s. presence in afghanistan after 2014 will be limited to current terrorism operations and training and advising afghan forces. general austin would bring exceptional experience in overseeing this transition, having commanded u.s. forces in iraq during the reduction of u.s. forces and equipment from
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iraq. just this past weekend our forces in afghanistan have had a change of command, with general joseph duckworth replacing general john allen as commander of the international securities systems forces and commander of u.s. forces afghanistan. i want to take this opportunity to thank general allen for his thoughtful and devoted leadership in afghanistan, for his forthrightness and his interactions with me and the rest of the members of this committee. when senator reid and i visited afghanistan in january, we saw a real signs of progress, including the afghan security forces increasingly taking the lead responsibility for protecting their country. good news stories about afghanistan and the afghan security forces don't seem to get the coverage of the u.s. media that is given to negative stories. for example, it was widely reported that only one of the 23
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afghan brigades is rated by isaf is independent. on the other hand we heard from our commanders in afghanistan that 87% of operations in afghanistan's critical regional command east are carried out solely by afghan security forces. another success story is now the 18,000 strong afghan local police program. these community defense forces when coordinated with district level national police and afghan army forces are more and more effective in powering afghan communities to defend against taliban intimidation and violence. plans are being developed to increase the authorized size of the alp program from 30,000 to 45,000. the next centcom commander will also play an important role in
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shaping our enduring partnership with afghanistan after 2014. the partnership that i fully support. ike m. concerned however by the plants to reduce the afghan national security forces by a third starting in 2015. 352,000 to 230,000 by 2017. i believe that any future reductions in the size of the afghan forces should be based on security conditions in afghanistan at that time and this afghan security forces make and providing for their country security, we should reassure them that we will continue to support these efforts by deciding that as we withdraw our forces that there won't get drawdown and afghan forces. progress in afghanistan remains fragile and significant challenges to afghanistan's long-term stability remain.
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among the greatest threat to its stability are the safe havens for afghan insurgents across the pakistan border. the government of pakistan has failed to disrupt or eliminate. in addition the major shortcomings of the government of afghanistan in delivering governance, fighting corruption creates political and economic instability that could exacerbate the challenges in the 2014 transition. in addition to afghanistan sense, as can -- contend with when the most difficult issues in our security debate, the threat posed by iran in pursuit of its nuclear program. as the centcom commander general austin will be at the tip of the spear with regard to preparing militarily for the detention of an armed conflict with iran. he shares the presence view that all options must be some
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remaining on the table. including its relentless pursuit of its stability fomenting the violence through proxies such as hamas and hezbollah and through its own covert activities in the region. already destabilizing events in syria, yemen gaza egypt and sudan are made worse by iraq spending and supply of terrorist organizations seeking to undermine governments to spark further conflict among sectarian and tribal groups. centcom has a critical role to play in leading efforts across the region to counter iran's aligned influence. events in syria continued to deteriorate. the impact of the assad regime's increasing dependence on support from iran and desperate actions to hold onto power can be seen in the thousands of refugees that flow into the towns and villages that syria's neighbors. while the united states is focused on providing humanitarian relief and
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nonlethal assistance to the syrian opposition, the centcom commander will be asked to advise on the situation to syria including whether to provide legal assistance to the opposition, with eight the united states should conduct limited strikes against key syrian military capabilities and whether the united states should seek to build a coalition of nations to take more significant military action. these are extraordinarily complex issues that general austin will be asked to share his views on today. centcom's area of responsibility remains a central location of many of the nonstate terrorist threats to our nation faces. in addition to core al qaeda in pakistan and the reemergence of al qaeda in iraq, al qaeda and the arabian peninsula remains focused on attacking united states and our interests. our centcom forces continue to assist our yemeni security partners in preventing al qaeda
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from taking advantage of areas in yemen where the government has limited control. the offense and ghazi -- benghazi were powerful reminder of our need and public expectations for a capable -- capabilities to respond quickly to crises around the world. this is one of the major evolving situations that general rodriquez has to address and it will consume a great deal of his time. it is far from limited to benghazi and libya. we have struggled in africa to find a foothold to allow for the responses to the type of events that occurred in benghazi and will allow us to conduct day to day operations lech intelligence collection. africom has received less in the way of resources and support and other geographic commands and
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this disparity indeed may grow in a resource constrained environment. these challenges combined with these destabilizing effects of terrorist and critical networks will make general rodriquez' task at africom among the most complicated in the department. an additional matter in the africom aor is committee watches closely is the ongoing u.s. support operations in central africa to assist the multinational effort to remove joseph kony and his top lieutenants from the battlefield. this committee and general inhofe has been very active in this effort and assad to ensure that this mission is adequately resourced including additional intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities. general rodriquez i know you are familiar with this mission and the committee looks forward to hearing from you about it and to working with you on it and so many of the other challenges he will be facing. i'm going to turn the gavel over
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to senator kaine who has agreed to take over because i must go to the floor and i i will call upon the senator inhofe. >> thank you mr. mr. mr. chair i join you in welcoming our witnesses. i've had an opportunity to get to know them in the past personally and i'm very anxious to mo vaughn with this and i think -- thanks charlene and jenny for being here. you are the ones who work harder than they do so we appreciate your sacrifices if they are concerned. general austin will be in charge of overseeing arguably the most volatile region in the world and in the midst of the declining defense budget. just last week secretary panetta announced the indefinite array of a a deployment in the middle east in development that was a darkly welcomed by the regime in tehran and egypt despite all the best hopes of the arab spring
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president morsi and the muslim brotherhood government has shown hostility toward the opposition groups and have taken an increasing bellicose tone towards our ally in israel. these developments require us to think long and hard as we will be sharing with them the controversial f-16 transfers and frankly i didn't agree with that but it's a tough area and i think if you look through that area, general austin you have iran and it maintains a determined to acquire nuclear weapons capability. it's been going on for a long time and we found our intelligence -- about the capability but they have developed so far. it's serious. and iraq are premature withdrawal has contributed to to a deteriorating situation and allowed al qaeda to establish a
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foothold in syria and assad's rain and brutality is claiming the lives of over 60,000 syrians and risks spilling into neighboring countries. in pakistan was a nuclear-armed government teeter i'm on collapse or a militant groups such as all the military groups that have enjoyed the safe haven and afghanistan men -- combat responsibilities to the afghan security forces. without a doubt we have got to make sure that the core structure and mission is driven by the facts on the ground and not arbitrary. we talked about this in my office. general rodriquez, hugh and i have spoken about the middle east and i have often said it is kind of the neglected continent and instrumental that we establish africom so there were no longer three different
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commands but one unified command it's a tough area and it's a tough area that has never had adequate resources to carry out what i consider adequately carrying out the mission and certainly the chairman mentioned the problem with the lra and that is a problem and is one that is not confined to as few. this charge in northern uganda has spread through the ca are in south sudan i might add that it's connected. it's all terrorists and it's all connected to yemen and it is a serious problem that we are going to have to deal with. it's the smallest of the regionally focused combat and command with less than 5000 boots on the continent and that's a huge continent so your work is cut out for you. we have talked about that, you and i in my office in detail so the challenge is to both face are very down -- not daunting
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but i am sure the both of your app to the task. it's going to be heavy lifting. as i said to you general austin my office, are you sure you want to do this and you said yes. thank you mr. chairman. >> general austin and general rodriquez we are ready to hear your opening statements and testimony and we appreciate you being here and your service and we will begin with general austin with general rodriquez to follow. >> good morning says. ranking member in half, distinguished members of the committee, i want to thank you for this opportunity to appear before you today and i also want to thank you for the steadfast and strong support that you have shown and continued to show to our men and women in uniform are army civilians and their families. it is remarkable all that they have accomplished over the past nearly 12 years of war and it was made possible in no small part through your personal efforts and those of your colleagues.
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so my thanks to all of you. i would like to take a moment to introduce my wife, charlene. i've been incredibly fortunate to have her as my partner for more than 30 years and she represents the many wonderful spouses who are the true unsung heroes of these conflicts. these conflicts. the supporters back home and in doing so enable our success. i think steve charlene for your love and support and your sacrifices and happy valentine's day. [laughter] i'm glad to date today to be joined by my teammate general rodriquez. he too is accompanied by his bride jenny who like charlene has done a tremendous amount for our soldiers and families over the years. david nice served a number of times over the years to include combat. he is a gifted leader that the great soldier and i'm pleased he has been nominated to command u.s. africa command. ladies and gentlemen it has been a tremendous privilege for me to
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serve my country in uniform for nearly four decades. i'm grateful to be able to continue to serve. i am honored, humbled to have been nominated by the president to serve as the commander of u.s. central command and if confirmed i've pledged that i will apply all of my experiences, judgment to the best of my abilities to help preserve and advance our nation's interest in that region of the world. general mattis has led central command master really over these two nephews. the impact of his leadership and the efforts of this team during this period of an tremendous if confirmed i intend to sustain and continue this important work the reality is that while much progress has been made in the centcom area of responsibility, quit there is still a great deal more to be done. our national interest and those of our allies and friends command vigilance as well as our continued commitment to do our part to help address the many
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challenges that exist to achieve and maintain security and stability throughout the middle east and south and central asia. of course our foremost priority remains the ongoing mission in afghanistan. soon we will be required to complete the transfer of responsibilities to the afghans and also transition our people and equipment out of the country just as we did in 2010 and 2011 when i served there just as we did in iraq in 2010 and 2011 when i served as the commander of u.s. forces iraq. this represents a herculean undertaking and if confirmed i will do everything within my power to help set the broader conditions for success in this most important endeavor. meanwhile, one must simply watch the evening news understands that the world we live in remains complex and extremely volatile. much of the instability and associated challenges remain in the centcom area and what we
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have to be pragmatic we must always be prepared to respond to contingencies whenever and wherever they occur around the world. if we truly want to have an effective and lasting impact in the region, our friends and allies must be assured of our support and our potential adversaries must understand that there will be consequences for their actions. as this past decade of conflict has clearly demonstrated, success, success and our many endeavors would require effective application of the full continuum of our nations instruments of power and influence. the military as well as economic and diplomatic and having worked closely with senior military and civilian officials in the various u.s. agencies and organizations, and also having worked closely with leaders from other countries and partner nations while serving in iraq as the commander of forces, i can personally attest to the effectiveness of these kinds of collaborations and if confirmed
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i will continue to cultivate my existing relationships while pursuing additional opportunities and partnerships that will surely prove beneficial. senator kaine, senator inofe these are historic in difficult times. the many challenges that exist provide opportunities and certainly a shared desire people to seek peace and harmony and prosperity and even in those places that have never before experienced. i fully appreciate the work ahead will be great and the road will not be easy but if confirmed i've pledged to give all that i have towards ensuring our success and the success of our allies and friends around around the world and those most worthy endeavor. thank you again for this opportunity and for your steadfast support for the servicemen and women and their families and i look forward to your questions. >> think you general austin. general rodriquez. >> senator kaine, senator inofe
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and distinctive members of the senate armed services committee thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today. i am honored the president has nominated me to serve as the next commander of u.s. africa and if confirmed i look forward to working closely with this committee as well as our joint interagency intergovernmental and multinational partners to address the challenges we face and the opportunities to increase stability on the strategically important continent. strong partnerships are the key to gaining and maintaining stability in the 54 nations of africa. how would also like to thank this committee for the sustained support it has provided to our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, coast guard's men and the department of defense civilians and their families during this time of conflict. they selflessly serve their nation at home and abroad are often in harm's way ultimately to assume their share of the risk and we are eternal he
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grateful for the support of the american people and congress. i would acknowledacknowled ge the tremendous efforts of general ham and his team at the united states africa command, his leadership helped sustain strong partnership are biting the foundation for continued engagement across the continent and globally. he has done a superb job and i hope if confirmed i can expand on the work that he has done. to general laid off an exceptional leader and a good friend, we have served together throughout peace and war in our careers and a significant number of deployments between us and i'm honored to share this experience with lloyd and charlene and i'm certain if confirmed floyd will continue his remarkable service to the nation nation and our servicemembers. i also want to thank my wife jenny for decades of service as an army wife and who has cared for a month after soldiers with empathy and understanding. she is also a wonderful mother to our children any a student at north -- melissa schoolteacher
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in north carolina and david the works with the department of the navy in washington d.c. and andrew a lieutenant in the army. i think the committee again for allowing me to appear before you today and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you general rodriquez. here is the procedure we will follow. i have a set of standard questions that we ask all witnesses that i will ask both of you to respond to and we will then proceed to rounds of questions alternating between representatives of the two parties and the rounds of questions will be seven minutes long, and then if there are additional questions in in the second round that members want to ask we will proceed in that way. let me begin with the standard questions we have the witnesses and these will help us exercise legislative and oversight responsibilities. do you would hear to applicable laws and regulations governing complex of interest? do you agree when asked to give your personal views even if those views differ from the administration in power? >> i do.
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have you assumed any duties are undertaken any actions which would appear to presume the outcome of this confirmation process? will you ensure your staff complies with deadlines established for requested communications including questions for the record in the hearings? >> i will. >> we have cooperated providing witnesses and briefers to respond to congressional requests? will those witnesses be protected from reprisals from their testimony in any such breathing? >> they will. >> you agree or confirmed to appear and testify by request before this committee? >> i do. >> you agree to provide documents including electronic communications in a timely and/or when requested by a duly constituted committee or a consulting committee regarding the basis for any good-faith denial in providing such documents? >> i do. >> with that we will move to the questions and i will begin with senator donnelly. >> thank you mr. chairman. i want to thank you a general
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austin and general rodriquez for your service to the nation and to your families for everything you have done. you may want to take them for valentine's day lunch to the senate cafeteria. and then you may not. [laughter] general austin, as we heard the president say the other night, he is looking to withdraw 34,000 troops from afghanistan, and my question is, can that be done in a way that does not leave afghanistan less stable? >> thank you, sir. whereas i was not a part of the process that helped to generate the proposals or the numbers of troops that we have drawn down and the rate at which they should be drawn down, i can tell
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you that from having been a part of that process before, the types of things that commanders consider going into those recommendations really account for whether or not they can accomplish the assigned objections and missions. i would assume that general allen and general mattis as they went through that process provided their best military advice and i would assume that to be the case that having not been a part of that i cannot speculate as to whether or not not -- >> how quickly we become a partner and taking a look at that in that determination? >> if confirmed served i will get into that right away and confer with general dunford and the chairman and make sure that i have full understanding of the
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objectives, the missions and the resources that have been provided to accomplish those objectives. >> and you will give us your unvarnished opinion as to the plan, how it works and whether it will meet your strategic objectives as you look at the situation that we are in? >> i will, sir and the objectives that are outlined by the senior leadership that have been had been provided to us. >> thank you. general rodriquez, as we look it your mission, one of the things that strikes strikes me is then of course in centcom too at how important it's going to be to build up our partners there so that they can be self-sustaining in protecting their own nation. how critical a focus is that going to be for you as you move into this position? >> thank you senator. that is a critical focus because obviously the objective is to have africans of -- supply
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security and stability for for themselves. there are a wide range of tools to do that in that will be a main focus. >> it seems that that could be the key to success there is being in a position where the training that we provide enables them to stand up on their own. general austin, as we look at the region that you will be commanding, one of the challenges has eyes been pakistan and our working relationship with pakistan. as we go through the withdrawal of troops to afghanistan both the men and women and equipment, do we have, and again you mentioned that you had not been fully involved in that plan but i would think one of the things you would want to do is continue to work closely with pakistan on that plan but also have alternative options if there are bumps in the road as we proceed forward with borders. are you going to be looking at
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that as part of what you look at when you get the plan in your hands? >> absolutely, sir. i think our relationship with pakistan is critical. it is a key country in the region, and my goal would need to immediately work to continue to build upon the existing relationship which is on somewhat of a positive slope right now, a positive path and i want to continue to build on that. again they will be key throughout and into the future. >> general rodriquez, as we look at your region, we just saw an extraordinarily tragic situation in benghazi and when we look at the country there and we look at the challenges that those nations already have in protecting themselves, and we often depend on nation security
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for our own consulates and embassies as well, as you look at that, will you be making for lack of a better way to put it, a study of how fast do we get to the consulate in where's the closest location to that consulates so that we have -- that you have a plan that can make sure if our consulates are in danger, we will be there to protect them. >> senator if confirmed i will do a thorough study of time distance as well as capability spread throughout the region so we can respond in a timely manner and make sure the department of state is in forms that together we can make good decisions on the african continent. >> general austin as we transition from afghanistan the military gains and security that
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we have achieved, with all your experience in iraq with the transition there, think one of the biggest challenges is as the military leaves how do we make sure that sum up big gains in not just military but in state auctions in afghanistan that we are able to hold onto them? what experiences that you took away from iraq can help with that in afghanistan as we move forward? >> certainly sir i think our embassy will remain engaged and continue to work with the afghan leadership to help them build capacity and work with issues on our political system but i think having a competent security force helps to create the time and space for an amateur political system too much or and we would hope that you know, we
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would have the opportunity for that to develop. the afghans would make the right choice is going into the future and certainly having advisers around to help advise the military also helps to influence the rest of the environment as well. so i think the activities between the embassy, staff and what our military is able to do in keeping the afghan security forces focused, think that creates the time and space for the political system to mature. >> general rodriquez and general austin thank you so much for your service. you and your families have dedicated your life to our country and we are incredibly grateful to you. >> ranking member senator inofe. >> thank you mr. chairman. i've been agree with the remarks by the senator, your service in the time and the fact that i had the opportunity to be with you in the field at various times.
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let's see, i guess general rodriquez we spent some new year's eve together over there and we got to know each other pretty well. anyway in your opening statements you had some serious problems that you are facing over there. let's just start off on africom because that is something i'm perhaps a little more familiar with. we all go through this and you guys are not immune from it. you're trying to get to places and you have 54 countries and over 12 million square miles to adequately support africom and i'm going to ask you a question in minutes about the resources. in terms of time and distance, have you thought about how you are going to handle that? if you have a crisis in sub-saharan africa you will have a hard time getting there and what you think about that? >> yes sir i think that will require the solid coordination
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of agency partner so we can best understand the indication of warnings so we can best posture ourselves to be able to respond appropriately but as you know because of the time in the distance and the challenges that we have it will continue to be a challenge so if confirmed i will look at that very carefully and the requirements to the leadership and ensure that everybody understands the risks involved. >> is something you have no control over and that is where it is right now. frankly when we started after, i was pushing very hard for it ethiopia or someplace for headquarters in africa. as you know the problem there is the reputation of our involvement in africa is misinterpreted as colonialism type of an approach and i have to say this. every president that i have talked to including in tanzania,
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they all said we recognize it would be easier but there is no way we can sell it to the people. the reason i bring this up, there is always a lot of people here in the united states and members in our good friends in the senate who are likely to move the headquarters stateside and i think the best thing we can do right now, and i think you would agree, that it would be very difficult to move the headquarters. what do you think about -- to you and i talked about this. have you had time to look and see in terms of resources? as i said my opening statement we have 5000 boots on the ground. that is not much. do you have any comments going in right now as to how you are being resource particularly at a time with a drawdown we are talking about at the current time? >> senator thank you. as you know the challenges across the depth and breadth of
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africa that we are facing with the resources constraints that we are all living under will be a challenge in the end we just have to make the greatest assessments of where we are going to accept risks to ensure everybody knows and understands that and then the coordination between the interagency departments will be critical as we move forward. we all as commanders have to help our leadership assessed the risk throughout the cocom's and if confirmed i will execute that to the best of my ability. >> we have a lot of things that the chairman in his opening remarks talk about, the pla and joseph kony. my question is, if we are successful in our operation and helping them take out joseph kony, would you continue there are in recognizing that coney and the lr a. is part the terrorist group that goes far beyond originally in uganda and
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spread to south sudan and into the eastern. it is widespread and it is a serious problem. i would like to get your commitment to stay involved in that and recognized it for the problem that it is. >> yes sir and if confirmed i will continue to watch connie and the lra and the entire negative impact it has on the region as a whole. >> there are so many areas that people are not aware of right now. one of the things i would like and we made a good decision after 9/11 when we decided as a policy for this country that we would recognize africa and as the squeeze takes place in the middle east in the terrorism goes down through djibouti and the horn of africa that our idea was to put an five african brigades to help them, not us, but to help train the africans
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who are very receptive to do the idea so that when that happened down there we wouldn't have to use ours. that is kind of floundering and i would like to ask you to make those five african brigades a top priority during the time that you are spending down their >> we will do it senator. >> general austin, as i told you earlier i asked do you want this job? i would like to ask you in whatever time it takes to kind of look at the sequestration and how that is going to affect you in that critical region, and the outlined area by area and my opening statement. >> yes, sir. i believe the sequestration will have enormously negative effects on our services ability to resource our efforts and what
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will happen is that we are all committed to and all the services are committed to support the current -- which is what we should be doing but over time the follow on and the deployers will be less ready, and so our ability to respond to emerging contingencies in the region will have less of an ability to do that and we will have less flexibility and zero options because of the pressure and now with pressure on the budget. >> you mentioned for areas and you call them for principle levers the last time you were here before this committee. they were mil-to-mil and engagement plans and operations and security cooperation programs and posture. of those four what will be impacted the most by sequestration? >> certainly our presence and our posture in the region will
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be impacted and we are seeing that, the leading edge of that with the delay of the deployment again that begins to take away some of the flexibility and the options available. >> thank you very much. >> as a scheduled accommodation i am switching my times five to senator nelson and his questions will be next. >> thank you mr. chairman. in the delay of the deployment of that carrier which otherwise would go to the persian gulf region, -- >> that would be a part of its responsibilities as it completes its tour, yes sir. >> well, i asked that question because of course one of the continuing high-visibility questions is what is going to happen in iran, and if iran were
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to continue with the development of a nuclear weapon, we would need all the military assets that we could muster and the general has just pointed out that sequesters going to keep that carrier in poland, which is not a good thing. if we ever got into it in iran or if iran ever started their own aggressive actions by mining the strait of hormuz, we would need all of our navy assets that we could bring to bear. that is a there are statements is in the general? >> yes sir and general mattis has laid out what its requirements are, and so those
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requirements have been vetted and have been approved and again if he doesn't get the full complement then he will have to do some things to mitigate that. >> general, what do you see will be the remaining force when we are withdrawing and 2014 from afghanistan? >> sir, i believe that those decisions are still being made by the leadership with the input of general dunford and general mattis, and i don't know -- i'm not a part of that process and i don't know what the objectives are that the leadership want to accomplish and that really drives what the force structure should look like going forward so having been a commander in the field where i
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was working hard with the leadership to define options, i found it very unhelpful when somebody who wasn't a part of the process speculated on what the troop strength should be. >> in your experience, you have worked with the indigenous forces in the leadership of a country like afghanistan. can you give us your observations of the progress of that society over the course of the last few years and their ability to basically what i'm getting at is, have the afghani people regressed to the point that it's going to be very hard for the taliban to take over, once we leave and take them back
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to that feudal society that they were? what is your observation? speedster, my observation, first of all i think to the key elements or three key elements to kind of go into this equation as to whether or not things will remain on track or not our number one do we have a credible security force to help guard against the challenges that will no doubt come in the future? we have worked hard with the afghans to build a security force of 352,000 in a relatively short period of time and it's still growing and still evolving incapability. the second thing is i think the political policy needs to mature and the people have to begin to have faith and the leadership and the leadership has to be inclusive and has to reach out to people and they have got to provide a good governing
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mechanism for the country, and that is critical. i think the security forces can provide the space for that to develop. it's going to take some time and the third piece of this is the corruption that has you know, that we have seen in the country over time. we really have to get control over that and begin to move that in the right direction. and i think when those things happen and certainly they are capable of happening, i think things will continue to move in the right direction. >> thank you mr. chairman. >> senator mccain. >> thank you mr. chairman and thank you to the witnesses and their wonderful wives for their service to our country. we are very proud to have you certainly in such positions of responsibility. general austin and general rodriguez, general rodriguez he
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recently served in afghanistan as a commander of the international joint command with isaf and i will ask you both the same question. the president has announced 34,000 troops more than half of our force will return home by the end of the year. was this recommendation via the chairman of the joint chiefs? was this a recommendation by the military? >> senator, i don't know what the specific recommendation was. as i understand it -- >> no one has told you or general rodriguez? >> no sir i was not a part of that process. studies so you are excluded from knowing the recommendations of the military? given the new responsibilities you have? >> i was not included in that process. >> did either of you recommend this option? >> no sir.
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>> in your best professional military advice, is the withdrawal of 34,000 troops this year in line with the conditions on the ground as you saw? >> sir, i differ to the current commander. >> you really have no opinion whatsoever about whether we should withdraw 34,000, half are forced by the end of the year? is that correct? >> having not been a part of the process, i don't think that i should offer an opinion on this because i don't know everything that went into their calculation >> general roderic is do you feel the same way? >> yes sir. >> even though you recently served their? >> yes, sir. i've been gone for 18 months and things have changed tremendously. i can tell you that i was a part of the change in the strategy
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when we put the surge forward their and the concept of what we were looking to do strategically is continuing but his farce the specific situation, the country that warrants those decisions i am not current in that area serve. >> so, you wouldn't have any guess as to how many forces you believe are necessary to achieve our goals? general austin you were a commander in iraq. do you think iraq is more stable today than it was a year ago? >> sir i'm certainly troubled by some of the things -- the. >> you believe iraq today is more stable than it was a year ago? >> i think the stability is
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fragile and it is trending towards being more problematic as we watch what is happening with the current arab relationships and with the recent sunni protest and i think a lot of that is brought on by failure to solve some political issues. >> so, when we had a residual force there or not wouldn't matter? >> i think certainly if we could have continued to advise-and-assist the iraqis i think certainly it would have made them -- to continue to make them better. >> and you are present in the room when senator graham and i asked you after maliki asked us, what level of troops would we in the united states want to remain there in order to maintain that
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stability and do you remember your answer? you said, we are still working on it. remember that? >> yes sir. >> how long did they work on a general austin? >> sir i think we worked with the iraq leadership alawi up and to the point of time when they decided that they weren't going to be able to give us the protections we needed. >> because of course it was down to 3500. is that correct? >> no decision had been made at that point and time served. >> wasn't our number back to 3500 troops left behind? isn't that an accurate statement? it is written in michael gordon's book and its knowledge, is that? you were there. >> i presented a range of options. >> don't you know that the administration's position was that down to 3500? they didn't tell you that? >> soraya was nowhere for the
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number was and i don't recall specifically what the final option was being considered. >> you really don't remember specifically that it wasn't 3500? >> sir, in that range of options, again since we never close -- >> the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff testified that the number was down to 3500. general dempsey did before this committee and you didn't know that even though you were their? >> sir i didn't know what the number was. >> was 3500. >> it was a small number, yes sir. >> which is why it has been well-documented the iraqis decided to try to obtain immunity of over 3500 troops wasn't worth the effort. so do you believe iraq is headed in a positive or negative direction? >> sir again some of the things
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we we are seeing in iraq is very troubling with the air of guards tensions and the sunni protest. on the other hand -- >> the anti-over -- antiaircraft for bashar assad and the total estrangement between barzani and maliki, continued violence in kirkuk and other areas along the border, the vice president of iraq having to flee the country because there are murder charges brought against him? does that indicate to you that iraq is headed in the right direction? >> it does not serve. certainly there are some things that are very troubling. there are also some things that i think indicate that if they make the right decisions, they have a chance to move in the right direction. there are 3.3 million barrels of oil a day. they have been challenged
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several times in terms of security, but the security forces have really held and they are still loyal to the civilian leadership. and so there are a couple of things in their that do indicate that they begin to make the right decision politically that i think if they have a chance to move in the right direction but at this point they have not made those decisions and it is troubling. >> will general, your predecessor general mattis had a well-deserved reputation as speaking truth to power and testifying before this committee and a frank and honest opinion. we have our responsibilities and our responsibilities can only be carried out if we have frank and honest, as you were just asked if you would do at the beginning of the hearing, opinions and i'm disappointed by your testimony today that i have to draw these racks out when you and i both
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know they are facts so i hope the next time you're before this committee will be more forthcoming in your answers. we deserve it. we have our responsibilities as well as those that you will assume. thank you mr. chairman. >> senator blumenthal. >> thank you mr. chairman and i want to join in thanking both of you for your extraordinarily distinguished careers and your families for their service and sacrifice as well and wish you well in your new command in the next chapter of your military career. general austin we have a very informative and important discussion yesterday on the sexual assault with a number of my colleagues in the number of viewers and i would like to ask you and general rodriquez for your commitment that you will pursue and vigorously and aggressively the predatory crime and the fishes event of sexual assault and rape wherever it
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occurs under your command. >> sir you have my commitment that i will do so. >> i will, sir. >> thank you. let me asked by the way have each of you seen the documentary movie coax. >> i have seen at sir. >> i've seen at sir. >> will you make it your policy and practice that movie among other training aids received by all of the commanders? >> yes sir and as you may no sir in know sir in the army we have encouraged our leadership to use that as a training tool. >> i would like to ask you for more than just encouragement but to actually make it a matter of your general order or however you want to implement its within your command that it be used as a training device. yes, sir. it is required.
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>> thank you. let me ask you general austin focusing on afghanistan. i recently had the privilege of traveling to afghanistan with the number of my colleagues including senator mccain who led the trip and senator graham, senator ayotte and others and i want to focus for the moment on contracting their. we understand from the special investigator in afghanistan that 43 contractors in effect are doing business with the afghanis but they have not been processed by the army for debarment. partly because legal obstacles and others now and allow the united states, section 841 in particular, i would like your personal commitment is centcom
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leader that you will personally review these cases and use the authority you have to stop u.s. taxpayer money from being funneled to the taliban and that you will help us senator ayotte and i in particular work on this issue and help us to strengthen the law. >> sir you have got my commitment. >> thank you. very aptly you are -- your per pair testimony mentions the importance of unity of effort. that's your phrase and i think it's a good one on the battlefield and it's equally important at that unity of effort in stopping american taxpayer money from aiding the enemy in afghanistan where corruption has been unfortunately so rampant. one of the areas where i think it can be applied more effectively is in usaid and state department aide and i would like to have your commitment that he will help us
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in fact a improve it along that regard. >> thank you. i interest and you have made it as part of your commitment. >> yes, sir. >> thank you. let me ask you now general austin about syria. as part of that trip we visited the refugee camp in northern jordan adds safari and i must say very powerful and moving experience to see the conditions of the camp and the numbers of children, the challenges in providing education and helping to make it sanitary condition and i would like your commitment that you will do everything possible to provide a drastic and dramatic increase in humanitarian aid to the refugees in syria and elsewhere, also in
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jordan where there are those refugee camps. .. don't you think the united states can provide more training and technical assistance at the very least? in terms of logistical aid to the opposition forces in syria? >> sir, not being in the seat >> sir, not being in the seat yet,